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About Carthage

75 Years of Black Excellence

2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the graduation of the College’s first Black graduate, Lorraine Wiggan, who received her diploma at Carthage’s 1946 Commencement.

Carthage celebrates 75 Years of Black Excellence.Throughout 2021 and into 2022, Carthage is paying tribute to the generations of Black Carthage students who, since 1946, have attained and contributed extraordinary levels of achievement in academics, co-curricular activities, scholarly work, and volunteerism; and celebrate our Black alumni, who have achieved excellence in professional careers across every industry and in countless other ways.

In spring 2021, the Carthage Board of Trustees passed a resolution to recognize 75 Years of Black Excellence. The board enthusiastically celebrates the achievements of Black alumni over that span and recognizes 75 Years of Black Excellence as a compelling and important means to bring Carthaginians together, both to celebrate the achievements of the past and to inspire the achievements of the future.

75 Years of Black Excellence lifts up Black communities and voices, and cherish, embrace, and celebrate Black contributions to our beloved Carthage community. Spring 2021 events included the creation of a Java and Justice podcast series, a Black Graduates Ceremony, and the first-ever Black Graduates Ceremony. Fall 2021 events include a Soul Food Luncheon bringing students together with alumni, faculty, and local community members in support of Carthage’s African American students during new student welcome. Additionally, Homecoming weekend Oct. 15-17 will include a career-networking event for alumni to share tips for success with current students, a tailgate reunion for the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network, and an Evening of Elegance formal party for students and alumni. The year of celebrations will conclude with Martin Luther King Day celebrations.

Related fundraising events included a Carthage Giving Day challenge that raised more than $5,000 to support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus including the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Scholarship Funds, the Intercultural Center, and the Urban Teacher Prep Program. Additionally, three trustees gave seed money to create the 75 Years of Black Excellence endowed scholarship fund, which will be awarded to a rising senior to recognize outstanding achievement and/or contributions to campus diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Please visit The Bridge and Carthage calendar. Follow Carthage’s social media and connect with Wiggan-Kenniebrew on Facebook for related updates and news.

About Lorraine Wiggan

Lorraine Wiggan '46The first in her family to attend college, Lorraine Wiggan ’46 majored in music at Carthage, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She went on to teach music and conduct a children’s choir in Edwards, Mississippi, before taking her work to Puerto Rico, where she served in rural parishes for five years.

Over the next 14 years, she served as an organist, established choirs, and extended musical horizons for many Lutheran communities in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Camden, New Jersey; Chicago; and Brooklyn, New York. She earned a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University, with additional study at The Juilliard School. Her Carthage legacy continued when her nieces, Karen Thomas Garrett ’75 and Chief Judge Cynthia Thomas Walker ’78, graduated from Carthage more than three decades later.

Our Alumni

Rev. Angie Khabeb '05

Rev. Angie Khabeb ’05: A sanctuary from despair and destruction

Rev. Angie Khabeb ’05 is the associate pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which became an around-the-clock relief spot for residents in the Longfellow neighborhood after fires from the protests of George Floyd’s killing destroyed most of the surrounding buildings. Rev. Khabeb describes helping her community during such a turbulent time and her own experiences of racism in her community. 

“When the community needed us, our doors were propped open.”

Read her story


Marcus Knight '06

Marcus Knight ’06: Black-owned business turbocharger

A year ago Marcus Knight redirected his expertise as a go-to-market strategist to start Cultured Perspective Inc, a consulting firm that helps Black entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into successful businesses. Living in Seattle, the heart of the tech industry, Mr. Knight divides the rest of his energy among three other growing ventures: a multimedia platform with 15 million monthly viewers across the African diaspora, an inclusive kids’ clothing line, and an online mentoring community for Black sales professionals.

“I have a repeatable process that no one has been able to replicate.”

Read his story


Mary Hooks '04

Mary Hooks ’04: Refueling communities for a protracted battle

Community organizer and co-director of Southerners on New Ground, Mary Hooks ’04 discusses how the fight for liberation is a long-term battle, just as it’s been a long-term struggle that has affected many generations. 

“The conditions that Black and oppressed people face are a side effect of generations of state-sanctioned genocide, both here and abroad.”

Read her story


Deonte Warren '21

Deonte Warren, M.M. ’21: Broadening Broadway’s horizons

After COVID-19 closed the curtain on the theatre scene in March 2020, Broadway performer Deonte Warren returned to school in Carthage’s Master of Music program. He devoted his master’s thesis to diversity in the field, with hopes of working with students “who are normally ignored.”

“We have more to offer as artists of color, and we need to make sure the industry stops pigeonholing people into being one thing.”

Read his story


About the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network

The Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network is a group of committed Carthage alumni who have joined with Carthage faculty and staff to increase enrollment of students of color, and to secure the resources necessary to provide these students with the support they need to persevere to graduation and fulfill their post-graduation goals. Priorities for the W-K Network include fundraising, mentoring, connecting students to internships and other career opportunities, and advocating on their behalf.

In March 2018, the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network established two Wiggan-Kenniebrew Funds: The Wiggan-Kenniebrew Endowed Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for multicultural students. The Wiggan-Kenniebrew Experiential Learning Fund provides support for multicultural students to participate in co-curricular experiential learning opportunities not funded through tuition, such as travel abroad, workshops, conferences, internships, research, and more.

75 Years of Black Excellence Committee 

Carthage wishes to acknowledge the contributions of all the alumni who have advised the 75 Years of Black Excellence initiative:

  • Clementine Bordeaux ’06
  • Charles Bowers ’03
  • DaQuawn Bruce ’18
  • Derrick Collins ’05
  • John Danley ’80
  • Annette Delaney ’79
  • Asmau Diallo ’21
  • Pamela Dixon ’94
  • Ashley Easterwood ’08
  • Karen Garrett ’83
  • Shea’na Grigsby ’06
  • Cecil Jennings ’81
  • DaQuan Kuntu ’00
  • Jamin McGinnis ’06
  • Arlen Moss ’92
  • Shebaniah Muhammad ’98
  • Victoria Nguyen ’05
  • Edwin Ojeda ’05
  • Kevin Panke-Buisse ’10
  • Cynthia Walker ’78

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • Our athletes rank up some impressive stats. So does our fitness center. The N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center (better known as the TARC), is home to a 16-lane swimming pool, 200-meter indoor track, two racquetball courts, an indoor rock climbing wall, and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center.

    • Carthage fields 24 NCAA Division III sports, including basketball, football, lacrosse, volleyball, and water polo. Our varsity teams play in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin — regularly taking home hardware from one of the nation’s toughest Division III conferences.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …